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Celebrate ‘Love Parks Week 2018’ With a Visit to Your Local Park

If you do anything this week, visit your local park. This week is national Love Parks Week. Dumfries and Galloway Council are encouraging people to get on the grass and visit your local park.

Love Parks Week is an opportunity to reflect on the fact that our parks will only survive if local communities demonstrate how much they value them and get involved. Our Council has been working with local community groups on developing parks across our region for the past couple of years. Following a financial commitment to further invest in our parks, this joint working will continue, ensuring that our redeveloped parks meet the needs of the local community.

The Council committed £500k to the development of 3 inclusive play parks in Stranraer, Dumfries and Annan in its budget for 2017/18. The parks are being developed in close consultation with local community groups in each of the three towns. The Stranraer inclusive play park, at Stair Park, developed in partnership with the Wigtown Family Support Group will open on Sunday 29 July featuring a range of equipment designed to provide access and fun stimulation for children of all abilities. The park will also include refurbishment of the existing public toilets to Changing Places standard. These are due to open at the end of August. The Dumfries inclusive play park which is being developed in partnership with the Parental Inclusion Network will be located at the existing Catherine Street play park, next to the ground-breaking Usual Place café. The Usual Place already has a Changing Places toilet and the new park will again feature a wide range of accessible equipment as well as providing good access between the park and the Usual Place’s facilities. The Dumfries park will be completed by the end of the winter. Development of the park at Annan’s Newington Leisure Centre is scheduled for 2019/20.

A further 4 inclusive play parks have been provided for within the Council’s Capital Programme for 2019/20 and consultation with local communities on location, equipment and funding opportunities will begin after the summer holidays. These parks will be located in Newton Stewart, Castle Douglas, Upper Nithsdale and Lockerbie. The 7 parks will therefore provide a unique network of accessible facilities across our region.

In addition to these facilities the Council has also made provision of £500k for replacement of play equipment in parks across our region in 2019/20.

Our Council has continued to invest in parks and play areas across Dumfries and Galloway despite the pressures on public sector spending in the last 10 years. Most notably there was £2m project to regenerate the Dock Park in Dumfries which has been a huge success and has seen a real turnaround in usage of the Victorian park. The Council, in partnership with a number of community groups, has organised a full series of summer events in the park for 2018, ranging from sporting activities to music events, craft activities to “up close” experiences with animals, and a host of others.

In the West, Agnew Park in Stranraer is open daily from 12noon–4pm until Sunday 26 August 2018. It offers superb facilities for all the family including a miniature railway, pedal boats and go carts. The YMCA, Stranraer are offering camps and activities for our young people which are predominantly run from Agnew park. All of the good work in our parks will really be showcased at ‘Park Fest’ which is a great music event for the whole family on 17 and 18 August at Agnew Park.

There is a lovely new flower bed in McJerrow Park in Lockerbie that has been created in partnership with Lockerbie Community Council. The stone in the design was kindly donated by Grange Quarry, Lockerbie

Ian Wright and his Council team created rockeries in Colliston Park in Dalbeattie and in Lochside Park in Castle Douglas along with the local community councils recently. They designed and built the beautiful rockeries which really are a feature in the parks. These are now maintained by local gardening groups.

Andy Ferguson, Chair of Communities Committee said “Our parks across the region continue to provide great leisure opportunities for locals and visitors alike and are the focus for many community events, particularly over the summer. I am very proud of the investment we have been able to secure for our parks, particularly where it will provide access for children who may not previously have been able to participate fully with their peers. We are very happy to support and take part in Love Parks Week”.
John Martin, Vice Chair of Communities Committee said “Parks are great places for children to enjoy safe play with their families and friends and the weather we have had so far this summer has been terrific. So I hope that our kids are able to enjoy the rest of their holiday period in our huge range of parks and play areas, with all the events being organised by the Council and local community groups”.

Parks in Dumfries and Galloway are not just grass and paths. You can get so much more from your park –why not go for a jog or a cycle; or a relaxing walk with the dog or look at the wild flowers or enjoy the play equipment. There is something for everyone in your local park.